In the latter stages of the 2005 election campaign two stories broke.
One was the pledge card and the Labour party’s illegal spending of public funds on its campaign.
The other was brochures published by the Exclusive Brethren criticising the Green Party.
The brochures, which were published legally, got all the attention and almost certainly influenced the outcome of the election.
The pledge card rort got almost none at the time.
In the latter stages of this election campaign two issues have broken.
One is the vandalism of National’s hoardings by a now former member of the Green Party.
The other is the contents of a conversation which was illegally recorded.
Which is getting almost all the attention?
It’s not the vandalism which was not just a random act by a few. It was well organised, well funded action by many.
The recording might or might not have been made accidently. It was no accident it was passed to the Herald on Sunday and TV3 and it was no accident that at least some of what was recorded was passed on to a would-be MP who’s getting the attention he craves on the back of it.
If people want to know what was said in the conversation it’s only because there’s been such a fuss made of it. Had the media accepted it was illegally recorded and that it would be breaking the law to publish it without permission the story would have died days ago.
Meanwhile, why are they not asking every Green MP and office holder what they knew about the vandalism of National’s hoardings? Why aren’t they searching for other people who were behind it the way they sought, and found, the people behind the anti-Green brochures? Have they thought to ask Jolyon White about the ethics of using his role in the church to pose as a neutral MC for candidates’ meetings?
Why aren’t they concentrating on matters of real importance – the international economy and the impact that will ahve on us or progress made towards free trade this week, for instance?
In 2005 the media at best made an error of judgement in choosing to pursue one story and virtually ignore another and they are doing that again now.
The media are supposed to report the news not make it and they are certainly not supposed to manipulate it.
By choosing to focus on the conversation and giving very little attention to the vandalism they are both making news and manipulating it.